I was chatting with a couple about their Valentine’s Day. It surprised me to hear that she had ordered flowers for herself online, and then thanked her husband when they arrived. The husband cringed and claimed innocence, “I don’t know how to please her, what she wants, if she would be upset if I spent money on flowers or not.” I commiserated with both of them. But, wait! These were not newlyweds! They have been married a long, long time, and raised 8 children. I think it is time to learn how to model being a happy married couple to their kids!
I chuckle when I think back about our early Valentine’s days. When our first Valentine’s Day rolled around, we were newly married students on a very tight budget. I was pregnant with our first child. I saved an empty toilet paper roll and filled it with candy and wrapped it in red paper, twisting it at each end to look like a giant candy. Creative and cheap. My husband forgot Valentine’s Day for me. No, let me rephrase that. He didn’t forget. He didn’t know. Never crossed his mind to do something for me. I remember his response. He was pleased that I had done something fun for him, but it seemed like a very heavy burden had just crossed his path… (oh boy, am I expected to do something?!) Keeping a woman can be a bit o’ trouble!
Big learning curve when you marry. Many husbands seem to be oblivious. Many wives shed tears, get hurt, get mad, get even. Is there a better way?
I just read a humorous article on how to translate what women say. The author claims that when a woman says, “Let’s just give each other the gift of getting something for the house”, the translation of this sentence is actually, “I want you to buy something wonderful and surprise me with it!” I laughed about it, but it is so true!
Women need love lavished upon them. After all, they are women, ever constant, always serving, forever caring for the family, seldom putting their needs first. They love pretty things, and it was not so long ago, they were girls dreaming of Prince Charming. It only seems right that they should have the recompense of a token of love and appreciation now and then. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but it does take thought, thoughtfulness, and a little effort. Things that men are sometimes clueless about. Even a quickly composed 4 line poem (roses are red, violets are blue…), a bouquet of wildflowers, or a doughnut will bring “oohs and aahs” and delight. But neglect is very, very hard to bear for a woman. And continued neglect can extinguish the most devoted love.
My husband has grown and learned a lot and is thoughtful and gives me gifts and I am so grateful! It has taken quite a few decades to get to this place, however, so young wives, don’t despair. I’ve cried my share of tears so I am going to call myself qualified to give advice. Whether qualified or not, here goes:
Instructions to a Man on How to Make His Wife Happy and Keep Her Loving Him (on the Subject of Special Days)
1. Don’t listen to a word she says when she claims she “doesn’t need anything” or “don’t waste money”.
2. Go through your calendar and post yourself a note a week before every event you can think of: Mother’s Day, her birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, etc. (Do your married son a favor and remind him too!) There are even free online “birthday reminder” services will email you automatically two weeks, and then again one week before any special event. Can’t get any easier to remember.
3. Pick a love token to give your wife. The safe bets are:
- A pretty card
- A handwritten love note
- Something sweet to eat: fruit, candy or a bakery item
- Sweet smelling lotion or bath stuff
Two of these is even better, such as a card and flowers, or some lotion and a note. Now the plan here is not to get her what she wants. That is too hard of a job, and you are probably going to muff it and get the blue one with black buttons instead of the black one with blue buttons. I am just talking about giving a love token, not reading her mind. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming.
Right before Valentine’s Day, I walked around Wal-mart and had the intense itch to buy up a cart-full of cutesy things to distribute to my female friends and neighbors along with a tag signed in their husband’s name. They had single decorated cupcakes in cute little boxes for $3. They had roses, and charming stuffed animals and strawberries and chocolates and lotion and more and more and more! For $5, any man could put his wife into a swoon! So much for so little!
With the internet, and radio ads that claim all you have to do is call their 1-800 number on your drive to work and they’ll deliver delight to your sweetheart within 24 hours, you really can’t come up with an excuse.
4. Consider this an investment and treat it as important as depositing your paycheck. Which it is.
Instructions to a Wife to Help Her Husband Keep Remembering Special Days:
Women, being the sensitive creatures they are, do not often need reminders to do sweet things for their husbands on special days. Seems making their favorite dinner and decorating with streamers is built into a woman’s hard drive. At least, I don’t know any women that forget. So, I’ll move right on to the more important matter. How to react so that your husband doesn’t give up quickly.
My friend (who sent herself flowers) admitted that her husband did bring home a poinsettia for Christmas one year, but she didn’t like it, and let him know that. That’s not the way to get more flowers! So, here’s your “to do” list:
1. Realize that this may not come very natural to him, and you are going to have to give a lot of reinforcement for the practice to continue.
2. Always express delight and gratitude. Don’t ever mention it is the wrong thing (black with blue buttons instead of blue with black buttons) in the event that he attempts to buy the thing you want rather than a generic love token. There are more important things than getting the right thing. Like getting anything at all!
3. Place the love token into a prominent place, like the center of the dining room table. Smell it, read it, use it, eat it, bath with it. . . as the case may be. So he sees you are really happy about it.
4. Tell everyone that will listen how thoughtful your husband is, especially when he is present!
Note: I realize not every man in the world is clueless. Just several. In the rare event that you are one of the women married to a guy who remembers and eagerly lavishes you with gifts and appreciation naturally, please just delete this post. And enjoy what you have!
For the rest of us married couples trying to learn how to be good to each other, practice makes perfect! How about write him/her a love and appreciation note right now?